Improved voltage transfer coefficients for nonconductive materials in radiofrequency glow discharge optical emission spectrometry

Therese, L.; Ghalem, Z.; Guillot, P.; Belenguer, P.
October 2006
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Oct2006, Vol. 386 Issue 1, p163
Academic Journal
In radiofrequency glow discharge emission spectrometry (RF-GDOES), the excitation voltage used to create the plasma is applied to the back or front end of the sample to be analyzed. In this paper we focus on back-applied voltage systems (a configuration that represents about half of the instruments available on the market), and on applied voltage problems (the power coupling efficiency and materials analysis are beyond the scope of this study). In the RF-GDOES of nonconductive samples, a voltage drop develops inside the material. The voltage transfer coefficient is defined as the ratio between the peak voltage in front of the sample (facing the plasma) and the peak voltage applied to the back of the sample. In this work, we show that it is possible to increase the voltage transfer coefficient by increasing the capacitance of the sample. The capacitance of a given nonconductive material depends on its surface, its thickness and its permittivity. Increasing the voltage transfer coefficient permits higher power deposition in the plasma. This study is based on an electrical equivalent circuit for the discharge device, which takes into account the sample and reactor capacitances as well as the voltage probes used for the measurements. This circuit, when modeled by a commercial electrical circuit simulator, gives the voltage transfer coefficient as a function of the sample capacitance. Different approaches to increasing the sample capacitance and their influence on the voltage transfer coefficient are presented and related to the 750.4 nm argon line intensity, which is correlated to the electron density.


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